Our Story

Birthed in the hearts of some farmers…

The Bel Air Church of the Nazarene was born out of a spiritual awakening that touched the lives of several families in rural Harford County, Maryland in the early 1920’s.  Glowing embers from the revival fires that had swept America at the turn of the century were still evidenced by the moving of the Holy Spirit in the lives of this small band of believers.  United by the experience referred to as Second Blessing Holiness, the group met for cottage prayer meetings and held tent meetings on a regular basis.  As a result of their faithfulness and vision, land was purchased in 1931 and plans were finalized to erect a permanent worship facility.  Originally organized as the Harford County Holiness Association, this group joined with the Church of the Nazarene in 1932 with eighteen pioneer members.

Characterized by a passion for holiness…

In spite of economic difficulties, the founders of our church demonstrated sacrificial living during the decade of the 30’s and the church continued effective outreach into the surrounding Bel Air community.  As the years passed, God directed key men of faith who served as our pastors.  These were pastors with wisdom, full of the Holy Spirit, who challenged and led the congregation into a deeper walk with the Lord by proclaiming the message of heart holiness.  As church attendance steadily increased, the need for expanded facilities became apparent.  In 1954, construction began on the Sunday School annex which served the needs of the growing congregation.  This was just one of many important opportunities God would challenge the church leadership to embrace.

Always making room for more…

The Bel Air Church continued on its aggressive campaign to influence lives and lead people to Christ.  Within a few short years, more space was needed to adequately meet the growing needs of the church.  In 1965, a fellowship building with kitchen and additional Sunday School classrooms were added.  The church was making significant impact in the lives of countless people throughout Harford County.  Many of Bel Air’s more prominent farmers and businessmen had become active members in the Bel Air Church of the Nazarene and their influence was being felt, both at church and in the work place.

Following the turbulent Viet Nam era, the decade of the ‘70’s found the church providing expanded creative ministry opportunities through music, drama and personal evangelism.  Full time youth directors broadened the avenues of ministry for the church’s young people and the youth were playing an active role in the life of the church.

Along with the unprecedented growth of Harford County during the ‘80’s came a resurgence of new families, both young and old, who discovered the unique love and warmth of the Bel Air Church of the Nazarene.  Sunday School space had, once again, become a premium and the present facilities were proving to be inadequate to serve the growing needs.  A second worship service was added, as well as an additional hour of Sunday School classes, to better accommodate the children and the adults now attending.

Embracing God’s Challenge…

In the midst of these wonderful days, God was faithful in revealing His plan for the future of Bel Air Church of the Nazarene.  In early 1986, the 63 acre Hoopes Orchard, located just a few miles north of the church, was listed for sale.  This prime piece of land seemed an excellent location to consider for relocating the church and building a suitable ministry complex.  After prayer and consideration, the congregation voted on the recommendation of the Church Board to purchase the farm and in May of that year, the sale was finalized.  As part of the purchase plan, a portion of the acreage was then divided into housing lots and these were then put on the market.  Following their sale, the Bel Air Church had acquired 48 acres of prime land for under $50,000!

In God’s Time…

In February 2001, a long awaited dream was fulfilled, and we began ministry in our new facility.  Through the sacrifice of our people, we were debt free within six months of moving into the new building.  Our financial strength permitted us to move into a new decade of ministry in which we have been able to develop significant partnerships with Latin and European countries as well as local community agencies and ministries.

 

A Church on a Mission…

 Perhaps the most significant development over the years is that the farmers who knew the importance of planting seed for the harvest, envisioned a church that would grow the next generation of disciples.  Over 20 individuals are presently involved in full time ministry who were once a part of the church.  We are thankful that God continues to call our young people in the tradition of Della Boggs, the first teenager from one of those farmer families who served a lifetime in Africa as a missionary.

In the past decade, we have sent mission teams all over the world leaving our impact on places like Thailand, Bulgaria, Romania, Mexico, Guatemala, The Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Peru and Honduras.

The Next Chapter…

We are excited about the next chapter in our story.  We envision that it will be a continuation of people responding to the call of God by taking steps of faith believing that the outcome will be beyond anything we could ever imagine.